I am so proud of Isaac. He tried out for the Christmas pageant at church, which is a really big deal since he was the only one under nine who tried out and the only one who does not read really well yet.
Last week, he and Harper Lee brought home their audition scripts, which Harper Lee, naturally, memorized immediately and practiced over and over and over again in the car. (This was in addition to memorizing the preamble to the Constitution.) Isaac also wanted to audition, but he is a beginning reader. He did remarkably well reading the parts, which had several really big words, but memorizing it was harder.
By yesterday morning, he had decided to give up. He felt defeated. He knew older kids were auditioning, and all that self-doubt (the stuff I’m so familiar with and that makes my heart break for him because I know exactly where he’s coming from) crept in. “I’m not going to do it,” he said.
At which point I went into my whole speech about how “if you try you may or may not get it, but if you don’t try, it’s guaranteed that you won’t get it” and that “failure is not a weakness; not trying at all is a weakness.” Yeah. I’m a hypocrite at times.
He decided to use his script when he auditioned. And audition he did.
He did a great job. He read it confidently and without error.
Afterwards, the kids played outside while Mike, our children’s music director, cast the show. Then he called them in and passed out scripts.
Harper Lee got one of the main five parts, Hee-haw the Donkey. It wasn’t the part she originally wanted, but once she got it, she took on the character with gusto. She immediately began memorizing her donkey lines with a thick, drawling Southern accent that is funny and scary at the same time.
Isaac got the part of Townsperson #1. His line is “Who is that?” He cried.
I totally get the logic of this casting. The bigger kids got the longest, most difficult parts, which makes sense, and Isaac, whose line is short, repeats it over 10 times throughout the play. I actually think it’s a great first play role.
He, of course, thinks it’s a “baby” part. His take on the whole thing was that he didn’t do well. Standing on the sidelines of this scene, I see the big picture and understand. It made me wonder how often we all think we’ve somehow lost when what has actually happened is perfect for where we are right now?
After lengthy discussion about being a good sport and helping out our friends and how small parts are crucial to the success of a play, he conceded that he would play Townsperson #1 to the best of his ability.
When I tucked him in last night, I told him how proud I was of him for trying out and not being afraid. I asked him if he was proud of himself. He just shrugged and said, “I guess.” I hope that he will take his role and have fun with it and enjoy his time in the spotlight rather than looking at what he didn’t get.
I hope that we can all take the parts we’ve been given and enjoy them. If we stop focusing on who’s playing the Donkey or the Sheep or the Innkeeper, we might find that Townsperson #1 is exactly who we were born to play.